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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Preakness 2013 - Orb’s Draw: One is the Loneliest Post

Orb FoY 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
Fact - In the past 41 editions, only one horse has won the Preakness from the #1 post position.

Fact - Orb will break from that #1 post position in the Preakness.

So the question becomes: did Orb’s chances to move one step closer to Triple Crown immortality change significantly for the worse with the unlucky pull of a pill?

My answer, as simply stated as possible, is no, yes, no, yes, and no.

No Worries - Orb has already done well from a rail post position, having won the Fountain of Youth Stakes from the #1 hole. Coincidentally, in that race in which he methodically wore down Violence, it was also a field of nine just like the Preakness.

Troublesome - There has to be something to the lack of success for the #1 post in the Preakness. On paper, you would think it is not the most ideal spot, but for Tabasco Cat to be the only winner in the last 41 years is not only surprising futility, but it also has to give anyone who believes Orb to be near a sure thing, cause for pause.

Clear Sailing - With bona-fide speed horses like Goldencents and Titletown Five in the next two spots in the starting gate, the likelihood of Orb being bothered early on is small. Joel Rosario should be able let those two zoom by early and get his mount a comfortable and ground saving trip into the first turn. From there, the pair should have plenty of time to maneuver for a clear run in the 1 3/16 mile race.

Race Riding 101 - Given that Orb is the horse they all have to beat in the run for the Black-Eyed Susans, the riders of his competition may make a real effort to keep the heavy favorite pinned down to the rail for as long as possible, thereby giving their mount a better chance to spring a classic upset.

Not so Fast, My Friends - To the casual fan, drawing the rail is thought to be the kiss of death. I attribute much of this thinking to the fact that such a big deal is made about it for the Kentucky Derby. They are totally different animals, though. The chance for traffic issues in the 20 horse Derby field is considerably magnified as compared to a normal field size like the one in the Preakness. Horses win from the one-hole routinely on any given day … although, that 1-for-41 stat still lingers.

In the end, we all hope for a safe trip for all, and that the best horse wins, which would be good news for Orb.

But just in case you believe that the rail draw of Orb is a big problem ... my second pick, Departing, and my top long shot, Oxbow, both drew perfectly in the four and six spots respectively. 


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Older Comments about Preakness 2013 - Orb’s Draw: One is the Loneliest Post...

I agree on Orb but not the other horses Brian talks about in this race. My other I think have a chance are Governor Charlie and second start off a layoff Will Take Charge.
And that was my point exactly, thanks for the great research Lucky!
I wouldn't have thought the rail had odds nearly as bad as the Derby, what with field size. Point 3 is especially valid. There is a worry if he gets stuck back too far, though: Animal Kingdom couldn't catch Shackleford... If he gets upset it would seem likely to be a horse on the lead or near it, but I'm not a big fan of any of those horses, so......
  • annmatt · Orb has circled the field on the outside 6 wide and still won. He has won with fast pace, slow pace, and no pace...he is versatile and he is dangerous no matter where he winds up in the pack. I'm pretty sure that Joel will not keep his horse at or near the rail...he's no dummy, he knows he is a sitting duck if he does. I look for Orb to hang to the back of the small field, make his patented move on the back stretch just before the second turn, steer clear of the field even if he has to go 6 wide. · 1614 days ago
If you look at the one hole at Pimlico as configured for the Preakness, there is no squeeze at the rail like there is at Churchill as configured for the KY Derby. Plenty of space to maneuver, and I truly believe Orb can win from anywhere on the track. Take a look at last year's Preakness and note that the one hole just isn't problematic.
@jenna and yukichan... Just a little recent history on the #1 post... Last year Tiger Walk (23-1) 8th, 2010 Astrology (15-1) 3rd, 2009 Big Drama (10-1) 5th, 2008 Macho Again (40-1) 2nd, 2007 Mint Slewlep (40-1) last I think... You cannot properly state the history of a post position without looking at the quality of its participants... Aristotle Confucios
Dream on thinking 8/5. Not going to happen.Maybe even or 4/5.
it is only 9 horse fields and 1-3/16 mile, post position 1 does'nt have any effect on horse like ORB, look at Freedom Child in Petar Pan , he also had post position 1 in 10 horses field, he came out very easily and cantered the fields. i do not worry about post position 1 for ORB in a very small field?
Well, there you go...thanks for the stats Steve!
i hope people will bet on the fact that only one horse has won from the one hole that will at least get orb to 8-5
the horses that have broken from the one hole 95% of them were 30-1 or longer. so orbs chances to win will not have any thing to do with the one hole
Stuart Janney’s family knows that anything can happen on the racetrack. Pedigrees don’t place a horse over the wire first, but Orb sure has a nice one, with even a hint of a certain terrific 1970’s filly in his great, great grand dam Laughter, Ruffian’s half sister. Talent and maybe a bit of luck will carry the best horse to the finish first at Pimlico. Mr. Janney will say a short prayer before the Preakness, “Have a good trip.” I’ll be saying the same for his home grown colt to win all three.
well said BTL:) well said. @ yukichan, I was wondering the same thing. anyone with a thorough knowledge of racing history care to elaborate on that question?
Maybe over the course of the past 41 years, horses starting from PP1 had not much of a chance anyway, regardless of where they started from?????
Be sure to factor in the track bias at Pimlico. I'm not concerned with the turf races, however, I certainly will have a keen eye on all the prior dirt races/results leading up to the Preakness. No reason to dismiss Pimlico's track bias in the past few weeks. It could cost you just when you think you are on top of your game.
I just love this #1 post junk... There are advantages and disadvantages to any post in any race... The key is having a horse who can move when you ask him whehter it's early or late (like Orb) and a jockey who avoids trouble (like Rosario did in the Derby)... For years Pimlico was known as inside favoring track... Needless to say, many races have been won over the years from the 1 post... A word of advice... Sometimes in a desire to increase Mylute I overanalyze and begin departing from the orb of common sense into that place where emotions will take charge in my search for the Goldenscents :)
Pro-#1 PP A ground saving trip. Con-Getting trapped on the rail not being able to get free until it's too late or having to swing outside and not being able to get up in time.
I love the indecisiveness of no, yes, no, yes, and no. All good points.
maybe is going to wear his lucky underwear too...Where is this idea printed?
I think there's a likelihood of race riding and Shug's probably not ecstatic about this post under the circumstances.
Super Saver won the 2010 K.Derby a long the rail. Anything can happen at any post. Like all the the horses that ran that race that day had there chance. Calvin Borel and Super Saver over came there obstacles, so can Orb.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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